SAN ANTONIO — His name was announced over the Alamodome public address system, late Saturday night in San Antonio.
He heard it. The emotion shone through on his usually-stoic face. His coach heard it, too. That was cause for maybe a tear or two.
Anthony Black, Duncanville’s senior guard who began the season deemed ineligible by the UIL after transferring from Coppell in the summer, was the Class 6A state championship game most valuable player.
After all of it — the hearings, the missed games, the months of legal action to sustain eligibility into the postseason — it was, as Duncanville coach David Peavy said, the ideal culmination of a difficult season.
“It means everything to me,” Black said. “Because me and my teammates have been through a lot this year.”
Black, a five-star recruit and a McDonald’s All American, scored a team-high 19 points and helped key Duncanville’s stingy first-half defense as it topped McKinney 69-49 to win its third straight 6A state championship.
“Really, really tough year,” Peavy said. “Going through what AB had to go through, and, what his teammates had to go through … it was tough. To finish it off, and then to hear that he got the MVP, it was icing on the cake.”
Duncanville (35-1), a six-time state champion, won in 2019 and 2021. The 2020 state tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It became the first team since Houston Wheatley (1968-1970) to win three straight state titles at Texas’ highest classification.
Saturday’s win marked its 26th consecutive postseason win, too.
“I listened to [former NFL player] Damien Woody the other day,” Peavy said. “And he just said, ‘There’s levels to legacy.’ There’s levels to the things we’re doing right now.”
Senior Davion Sykes added 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Black made two out of his three 3-point attempts, and made seven free throws in the fourth quarter.
After holding Humble Atascocita to just four-second half points in Friday’s state semifinal win, Duncanville rolled its intensity over into Saturday’s game. With a starting lineup with five players 6-7 or taller, Duncanville’s length and versatility disrupted McKinney’s half court offense and held it to just 21 points on 40.9% shooting in the first half.
Duncanville scored 46 points on just 30 field goal attempts in the first half. It scored 22 points in the first quarter on 10-for-16 shooting, and added another 24 in the second on 9-for-14 shooting.
“I’ve been coming down here for 28 years,” McKinney coach Wes Watson said. “I’ve seen a lot of great teams … I’m not so sure that team we just played here is not the best I’ve ever seen down here.”
There’s a good case for it. Duncanville, ranked second in the nation by ESPN, beat three nationally-ranked teams in the regular season and another two in preseason scrimmages. According to MaxPreps records, this year’s class of Duncanville seniors will finish their careers with a 123-14 record. Its lone loss this season came against Richardson (also a nationally-ranked program), and that was without Black for much of the game because of eligibility issues.
So, Peavy, is your Duncanville squad one of — if not the — best ever?
“I agree,” Peavy said. “That was our goal this year, right? We wanted to be considered one of the best teams to ever come through Texas.”
McKinney (35-6) played in its first-ever state championship game after beating Austin Westlake in double-overtime on Friday night. The game was McKinney’s first in the state tournament since 1928. Four-star junior guard Ja’Kobe Walter scored a game-high 23 points for McKinney.
Duncanville led by 25 points at halftime, but McKinney opened the third quarter on a 11-0 run and held its opponent scoreless until the 1:41 mark of the third. McKinney won the third quarter 14-4 and turned a 25-point halftime deficit into a 15-point hole headed into the final eight minutes. Watson said he thought McKinney adjusted better to Duncanville’s physicality in the second half.
But Duncanville outscored McKinney 19-13 in the fourth quarter to close the game in convincing fashion.
“I can’t thank these dudes enough,” Watson said. “The journey they took us on created moments for our coaching staff, for me personally, for my family and our community, I can’t thank them enough.”
Watson summed Duncanville up pretty well. Duncanville’s Ashton Hardaway, a three-star recruit and the son of NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway, banked in a 3-pointer in the second quarter, to which Watson said: “A team that good doesn’t need any help from the basketball gods.”
Duncanville is that good. Maybe the best ever, according to Watson. Two five-star recruits, a four-star recruit and a three-star recruit, and a roster laden with seniors tested through four years of postseason play.
And now, a third-straight state title.
“We talk about how special it is, the things that we’re doing right now,” Peavy said. “But it doesn’t happen if we don’t have special kids and special families. It takes a lot to do what we’re doing. I’m real happy with these guys.”